Truth versus Holiness
Truth, that is verifiable facts as opposed to belief, is a vital part of the cultural narrative and operation of modern humanity. Truth does not require a lot of defending because it can stand happily on its own two feet. It takes little effort or money to be spent in affirming it. Truth is not sustained by propaganda but evidence. There are physical absolutes determined by science, absolute zero temperature springs to mind. You can build on a truth such as this one.
Religious belief however does not enjoy this simple status. Being of a nebulous and elusive nature it requires a vast apparatus of propaganda and good will to keep its flimsy body from fading into oblivion. Faith and religious belief do not have the academic respectability that evidence based observations have, instead their existence depends completely on the cultivation of a primitive superstition called “holiness”.
What then is holy? Can you walk through a field and stumble on something that you can tell is obviously holy? If a thing is holy to you, why not for everyone? How can you determine if a thing is holy? If something is made holy only by someone else’s opinion; does that make it holy? Is anything holy?
Through centuries of unchallenged assumption, there is a collective reverence and plenty of good will for religious faith and also for the moral stance of believers. Most people have acknowledged that faith and holiness have contributed something positive to the welfare of most societies across the world. This common focus of venerating holy things has proved to be useful in persuading the masses to conform within a community. It is on this same ticket by assumptions of holiness and of unquestioned reverence for the Bible that the Watchtower religion has gained converts. However you cannot build progressive ideas from holiness, all you can do with it is enjoy a fuzzy feeling inside and find new believers to share your emotional experience.
Whenever I hear the Watchtower propaganda, which by the way is mainly from this site, I am revolted by the endless repetition of cult 'trigger language’ such as “God’s people”, expressions which tie true-believers into their exclusive community. These are patronizing words which soothe troubled minds and hearts and give readers a warm glow from a sense of belonging to a ‘divinely ordained’ organisation.
Yet there is nothing objective about the language of the Watchtower, it constantly talks about “truth” but never dares to analyse the basis for any statement it ever makes other than the superficial given; that it originates in the Bible, it is "Bible based" and you need a "Bible based conscience" etc, etc. It is like a constant barrage of mental rivets endeavouring to hold a monstrous alien creation in one piece.
The JW organisation never questions the validity of the Bible’s viewpoint because its income and existence is based squarely on the false belief that the Bible is a book of prophecy and is incapable of error. Conversely the Bible has no useful prophecy and is riven through with contradictions and errors. On this fundamental misconception the whole output of JW rhetoric falls down.
Humans are suckers for holiness and the Watchtower knows it. Relentless propaganda is directed at the faithful in an attempt to support its holy lies and false promises.Truth is easy, it is only falsehoods which continually require propaganda to make them credible.
After leaving the JW world, is it this which now makes reading the Watchtower so nauseating?
The Greek word ἅγιος (hagios, that we also use for "holy") just means "to set apart", "different".
The fundamental (core) meaning of 40 (hágios) is "different" – thus a temple in the 1st century was hagios ("holy") because different from other buildings (Wm. Barclay). In the NT, 40 /hágios ("holy") has the "technical" meaning "different from the world" because "like the Lord."
[40 (hágios) implies something "set apart" and therefore "different (distinguished/distinct)" – i.e. "other," because special to the Lord.]
Loses most of the magic when you strip away the WTS interpretation, doesn't it?!
Yes Average Joe, it does lose its magic if you analyse what is going on and perhaps that is one reason why people worship without inquiring about what they are doing--they seem to want to be associated with "special", "set apart", holy things.
It resembles having possession of a magic object, being able to encounter something beyond the normal mundane realm. Surely this was the charm to become a JW; a special, set apart, God guided religion. All of it a hoax of course but convincing for someone looking for 'true religion'.
Millions are driven to worship something they cannot possibly know. Everything connected to this thing they cannot know; the organisation which promotes the worship, the big compilation of sacred texts and the leaders of the worship are also made holy simply by association with the invisible thing they cannot know.
But try suggesting that what they think is holy is actually a fraud...shock horror! Religious people must have a fix of "holy". What did Karl Marx say?